Friday, March 3, 2017

Book Review: Break Free by Don Soriano

Ever since I started my advocacy for financial literacy, I've always wished that financial literacy will be included in the school curriculum, as early as high school, if possible. I believe that if only Filipinos will learn proper money management way before they start working, less Filipinos will get into bad debt, more will invest / get into business, and the earlier they can achieve financial freedom. While waiting for my wish to happen, it's good to know that we now have a relatively wider selection of financial literacy books from Filipino authors (when I got interested in the topic in 2006, it seems that only Francisco Colayco's "Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo!" series was the option), the latest one coming from Don Soriano entitled Break Free: 8 principles to get from employee to employer in 3 years or less.

Break Free by Don Soriano

Break Free is an 81-page book that discusses the 8 principles that Don used to get out of ₱500,000 debt and become financially free in less than 3 years.

Provides Practical Tips

Don shared a lot of practical tips from money management (for example, Name Every Peso (NEP) Rule, Money Jars System) to how you can make money / assets work for you. He also shared valuable tips on starting a business while keeping your day job, why you should keep your day job, and when you can quit from your day job.

Don't quit your job because you think you have a great business idea. An idea alone is not enough. Ideas are a dime a dozen. The question is: are you ready to start that idea and turn it into a sustainable business? (Soriano, 2017)  

I liked Don's concept of "Automobile University", which lets you achieve continuous self-development even on your daily commute.

Emphasizes the Power of Leverage

I first read about using "Other People's Money" (OPM) as leverage for your business in one of Robert Kiyosaki's books. In Break Free, Don shared 4 more kinds of leverage that you can take advantage in order to achieve financial freedom faster.

He also mentioned the importance of sharing your success to your team for your business to be successful. As an employee, I definitely like that idea. :P

I simply don't believe in the traditional salary anymore. My people work hard and pour their blood, sweat and tears into my business. The least I could do is make it worth their while. (Soriano, 2017)

Shares Real-life Experiences

Don not only shared stories of famous successful businessmen, but also shared his own. Something to look forward to is his "3-Year Freedom Process", a personal formula / blueprint that showed how he used the different principles discussed in the book to achieve financial freedom in less than 3 years.

I liked the story of how he got into entrepreneurship, and how he made it work. The process seems to be replicable, I'll give it a try soon.

Easy-to-Read and Comprehend

Some of the lessons I picked up from reading several Robert Kiyosaki ("Rich Dad, Poor Dad" series) and Francisco Colayco ("Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo!" series) books, plus more, were discussed in Break Free in an easy-to-read and digest manner. One principle is discussed per chapter, and each chapter is only a few pages long. 

Break Free is a book that you can finish in one to two sitting. I actually read it twice. :P If you're really busy and can only allot a few minutes per day to read the book, I suggest that you read at least one chapter per day. In a couple of days, you should be done with it.

Presents a Simplified Definition of Financial Freedom

You reach financial freedom when your monthly passive income is greater than or equal to your monthly expenses. (Soriano, 2017)

I'd be honest, I felt that Don's definition of financial freedom was a bit simplified because it didn't consider future expenses (e.g., college tuition fee of kids), as well as retirement fund. To me, financial freedom is a long-term state. It's a point where you have accumulated money that's enough to support you (and your spouse) during retirement. It's never having to worry about where you will get money once your business or source of passive income stops while maintaining the same level of lifestyle and still doing the things you love.

While it is true that having passive income greater than your monthly expenses can be a measure of financial freedom, sometimes, it can just be temporary. It may also be too early to claim financial freedom while you're still not married and not yet sending kids to school. A business will always have risks, can become irrelevant, so if you'll just rely on your business, your financial freedom is also at risk. That's the reason why I think it's important to have an idea on how much you'll need by the time your kids go to school, as well as how much you'll need for your retirement, before claiming financial independence.

Truly, the definition of financial freedom varies from person to person. What Don presents is a different mindset to financial freedom, a mindset that can bring in the money, preserve wealth and grow it.

Highly Recommended

I highly suggest the book Break Free for financial literacy. It's a good eye-opener for people who live by the YOLO (You Only Live Once) motto, employees who are still struggling in managing their finances, as well as fresh college graduates who are about to enter the corporate world. With this book, you will have no reason to say that you're not informed, and won't have a reason why you can't break free financially.

Don Soriano is a personal finance coach who advocates financial literacy and financial freedom. For the past few years, He's been personally helping people in managing their finances and making proper investments for their future.  To know more about Don Soriano, please visit

To order his book, click here.

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